Experts agree that the key to the proper disposal of an unsafe CR is to make it unusable, but the definition of unusable and the method of destruction has been left to individual discretion. Owner’s manuals may say to destroy an unsafe CR, but don’t say how to do so. The standardized CPS certification curriculum provides no detailed clarification on this subject.
(This article, part one of a two-part series, looks at how proper rear-facing angle is assessed, especially for older children, and how to use “level to ground” lines on labels. In the next issue, SRN will explore issues related to rear-facing CRs touching front seatbacks.)
After many years of knowing, from research and Swedish crash experience, that keeping children rear facing as long as possible is best, the CPS community now has strong support for this best practice from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ April policy statement on child passenger safety. Armed with that respected organization’s advice to keep kids rear facing until at least age 2, if possible, or even longer if they still fit, the community is doubly blessed by the accessibility of numerous CR models that will hold children up to these higher weight limits. Such models are even available in today’s marketplace across all price levels.
As of March 2011, the touted inflatable seat belt becomes available as a $195 option for rear-seat positions in the 2011 Ford Explorer. Ford has expressed much enthusiasm for this technology, which has been in development for many years. It represents one of few safety improvements in the vehicle industry that is targeted specifically to protect rear seat occupants. Though currently available only in North America, and only on XT and Limited versions of the 2011 Explorer model, the outcome of this initial introduction may lead to more widespread availability in the future.
In October 2008, NHTSA published the “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Seating Systems, Occupant Crash Protection, Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection” final rule, the last components of which will take effect on October 21, 2011. Important among these is the requirement for new buses of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less to be equipped with lap-shoulder belts, rather than lap-only belts, in all positions.
Having access to lockable, standardized lap-shoulder seat belts on these smaller buses may make installation of conventional CRs easy on most buses so equipped. However, caregivers and advocates are often surprised to learn that best practice is to NOT use a booster on a school bus, even when a lap-shoulder belt is available and the child would normally ride in a booster in the family vehicle.
Comments on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Child Restraint Systems; Hybrid III 10-Year-Old Child Test Dummy Docket #NHTSA-2010-0158
We represent Safe Ride News Publications, publisher of materials that support the life-saving efforts of child passenger safety professionals, including Safe Ride News, the major child passenger safety technical periodical in the U.S. Safe Ride News Publications has been advocating for child passenger safety for over thirty years, and we consider NHTSA’s efforts over that time period to develop a range of ATDs that represent children of varying sizes and development to be critically important. The current proposal regarding the Hybrid III 6- and 10-year-old ATDs takes another step forward in that effort, and we appreciate the opportunity to comment.
When FMVSS 213 was amended 30 years ago to require, as of January 1, 1981, dynamic testing and inclusion of all CRs for children under 50 pounds, it established the basic elements of the standard we use today. Here is a brief history of some of the significant milestones and substantial improvements to FMVSS 213 and other related standards.
Thanks to all who attended my Kidz in Motion session “A Global CPS Survey: Products, Policies and Practices,” August 27/28, 2010 in Fort Worth.* As I mentioned during the session, the foundation of my research was identifying reliable CPS experts in regions around the world and surveying them regarding products, laws, standards and practices.
It was only after I had this grounding that I began to use the Internet for gathering additional information, and even then I did so cautiously. I share these Web sites with you as resources that you might find helpful for understanding the CPS viewpoints of certain countries and regions. Though I found them to be among the most reliable sites that I came across, I cannot vouch for their current or continued accuracy, and the views presented do not necessarily represent those shared by Safe Ride News.
One of the many benefits of attending a national conference like Lifesavers is the opportunity to hear leading policymakers communicate what they perceive to be our top safety priorities. One plenary session at Lifesavers this past April featured a panel discussion with leaders in the areas of roadway improvements, vehicle technologies, and occupant behaviors. During another, the new NHTSA head, David Strickland, took advantage of his first opportunity to address the Lifesavers group to lay out his goals and strategies.
I heard many familiar messages at these sessions: Driver distraction (in particular, texting) is a major area of concern; motorcycle fatalities are alarmingly high; drunk drivers are still major contributors to crashes, as are teen drivers. Basic problems like speeding and seat belt use also were mentioned as major areas of focus.
Why do some vehicle manuals warn that nothing should press against the back of the front passenger seat or be placed under that seat?
All boosters are not created equally, according to a recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that rates the belt fit of many booster models. A booster should route the lap belt flat across a child’s upper thighs, position the shoulder belt at mid-shoulder, and consistently fit this way in a variety of vehicles. The IIHS has revised its evaluation system since its prior report from 2008.